A post on r/AskReddit elicited some seriously thought-provoking replies.
“What screams ‘You weren’t loved by your parents as a child’ without saying you weren’t loved by your parents as a child?”
We’ve sorted through some of the most poignant ones and compiled, we think, a really great list of all the ways you can tell if someone didn’t have supportive parents.
Let us know what you think in the comments.
1. Stepmom apologies
I had to apologize to my stepmom for breathing loud, for standing somewhere she’d just decided she wanted to stand, for not being in a room when she suddenly decided she wanted to tell me something, for needing to eat and sleep and use the bathroom.
People would laugh about how they could yell ‘hey, come here!’ and the moment I got there I’d apologize first thing. But it was an absolute survival mechanism.
2. Social anxiety
One thing that I know I did a lot is have an extremely exaggerated personality because of how bad your social anxiety is. You constantly think everyone is judging you, so you have this carefully calculated sort of facade. You seem funny and spontaneous and extroverted, easy to talk to and friendly, basically you become that quirky weird kid. You try so hard to be funny and likable, be just weird enough but in a sort of funny way, so that people will like you. Then you get home and are absolutely drained because you really have no social battery but force yourself to have one because that’s what your carefully crafted personality calls for. You seem spontaneous and funny but really every move is carefully calculated.
3. Silent tears
I’ve had two girlfriends who were able to cry completely silently. Not just a few tears, but full ugly, balling your eyes out crying, with absolutely zero noise.
The first one I knew about her past, but the second I was completely blindsided. She didn’t speak about her past, but had said that other than ‘occasionally arguing’ with her father she’s has a good enough childhood. When I saw it, it absolutely sent chills down my spine, and I immediately knew. When I later asked her about it, and mentioned that people only learn that out for quite narrow reasons, the flood gates opened I learned more about her childhood than I was ready to.
Not liking or loving yourself.
Being able to identify people by their foot steps, the sound of their car outside, how they move around the house, etc.
5. No pain
You don’t miss them, like at all.
6. Quiet breakdowns
My special talent is breaking into full-on hysterics in total silence *with my bedroom open* and then less than 2 minutes later, walk out of my room and nobody has a clue I just had a total breakdown.
I cried myself to sleep most my 26 years so you just get used to it and forget it’s not normal.
Constantly apologising for basically existing.
Constant need of approval by an authority figure. For example, trying to constant please your history teacher that kind reminds of your dad, so everytime he grades you well you feel like you accomplished something, even though he’s just your teacher, not your dad, he won’t listen to your problems or be present. He’s just grading the tests.
Not being able to self validate. No one taught you how to be confident and sure of yourself.
Poor decision making/indecisive.
Being shocked when a “kid” says how much they love their parent and they mean everything to them and the parent is loving and affectionate.
Having a huge void in your life where no matter how much love you receive, it’s never enough and you never feel like enough.
… or so I’ve heard.
Spending every moment of your waking life, all 20 hours a day of it, overanalyzing everything and everyone for that exact moment they are going to snap and lash out at you.
Having trouble asking for basic needs.
They can’t mention any achievement without “balancing” it with a mistake.
Your whole family sees you as nothing but a punchline.
The only reason you fear them outliving you is that they’d use your funeral as an excuse to humiliate you even further in front of people who actually cared.
15. Phone rings
Seeing your phone ringing with your parents name and having an anxiety attack about answering.
Flinching up and closing everything out when someone yells or gets mad at me or something I did.
17. Always worrying
Constantly feeling like everyone has a problem with you even if you have no reason to believe such thing. I have great roommates and they’re some of my best friends, but at times I feel that they hate me. I know they don’t, I have no reason to believe such things, but when I wake up I sometimes believe that my friends absolutely hate me. In response to these emotions I tend fo work very hard to try and get them to “like me”, I’ll buy them food, or surprise them with things I know they’ll like. It eats away at me but even more I tend to believe everyone I meet for the first time hates me. Constantly I need people to tell me they’re not mad at me, I need to be reassured, it’s a dreadful feeling.
Not knowing how to take a compliment, because you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop like, “you’re so smart. So, why aren’t you doing better in school?” It’s better to deny the compliment.
19. No empathy
I seek the empathy I didn’t have, I try not to overshare but it’s hard when you’re starving, but I do have good boundaries otherwise.
20. Toxic Friends
Surrounding yourself with toxic friends, because that’s “normal”. Your loved ones are supposed to take advantage of you and be mean, if they follow it up with something equally nice after.